Sunday, July 27, 2008

California - Part 1

We just returned from a wonderful week in California, visiting my aunt and her family. We had a wonderful time, but we were exhausted when we got back. We took the red-eye flight home...need I say more. We did it for Olivia. We specifically planned both flights during the night so that she would sleep on the plane, and she did just that! She handled the trip very well and I think she had fun too. I will say that traveling with a toddler is not easy. We were limited to the types of activities that we could do. Olivia is not exactly into shopping and touring wineries at this time, so we sacrificed many of the adult activities so that Olivia could enjoy her trip. I am splitting our vacation into two separate blog posts. There is just too much to tell and show in one post, so here's Part 1.

Above is the beautiful view from my aunt's home in lovely Aptos, California. It is about one hour south of San Francisco. As you can tell she is very close to the ocean, which makes for an amazing view from her balcony. Since we were pretty tired on our first full day in California we took it easy. It was a nice sunny day so we decided to take a long walk by the beach. Olivia has had her little toes in the sand once before...last year when we were visiting. She wasn't walking yet so this was her first time to actually walk in sand. She stood still at first before finally taking some steps. I think it felt weird on her feet. She got comfortable very quickly and was even brave enough to walk down by the water.

Now it usually takes Olivia a little while to warm up to people that she does not know very well. Although she has seen her Great Aunt Sue Sue quite a few times, she does not get to see her very often since she lives in California. Well it never takes Olivia more than a second to warm up to her Aunt Sue Sue. By the time we got into the car at the airport they were best friends.

The following day we visited a cute little town called Los Gatos. We had lunch and attempted to visit a few shops. Olivia quickly let us know that shopping was not on the agenda so we had to move on. We were able to visit a few wineries in the area with the help of my trusty portable DVD player and my wonderful Cousin Justin who helped to keep Olivia occupied...Bless him!

On Sunday morning we took a drive to the most amazing fresh fruit and vegetable market. This area of California is one of the biggest producers of most of the fruits and veggies you buy in the stores...and in my opinion the best strawberries in the county! Because everything is grown in the area you can buy it very cheap. It is all so yummy and very good for you! We all ate a lot of fruit that week! We also stopped to see the local camel...yes, I said camel. There is a farmhouse on one of the side roads which is home to a camel. My aunt took us to see it thinking Olivia would like it. When we first arrived the camel was at the other end of the fenced-in field. We started calling to him and he immediately came over.

He was not shy! In fact, he was a little too friendly and came a little too close for comfort. Check out my Mom trying to escape before the camel attempts to make out with her!

What I did not catch was my aunt trying to get away and almost falling into the ditch behind her. Needless to say that was all it took for Olivia to decide that she was not a fan of the camel. It was interesting to see a camel that close up though. The question I cannot answer is why someone would want one as a pet?

In the afternoon we visited the Santa Cruz pier. It is a fun little town that is only minutes from Aptos. It was a chilly day but the sun was shining and the sea lions were in action. The pier is known for all of the sea lions that like to hang out underneath. They lay on the wood planks and swim around playing with one another. We were lucky enough to see quite a few of them.

As we were walking the pier Olivia decided that she would rather get out and walk than sit in her stroller. The pier was very busy and I was worried about her falling off so I insisted that she stay in her stroller. She was not pleased and decided that she was done with the pier. We all witnessed one of a couple of different tantrums she had during the trip. Olivia is on a different schedule than everyone else and she tires of activities much faster. This is the face that we usually see when she is no longer happy doing what everyone else is doing.

As we were leaving we noticed a bunch of sea lions resting on a dock off the side of the pier. As we got closer we saw that there were babies resting with their parents. There was a ton of them but my attention went towards the sweetness of this sea lion napping with her three little babies. How cute is this?

So that is the first half of our trip. There are still a few fun things I want to share, but I am going to save that for my next post. Before I wrap things up I want to share a few family pictures. Since we were always so busy we would forget to stop and take some shots of us with Olivia. Olivia is still at the age where she prefers not to pose for pictures, so we tried our best.

Olivia and her Daddy at the Aptos beach boardwalk

Olivia and her Nana on the Santa Cruz pier

Our attempt at a family picture on the Santa Cruz pier

Check back soon to see our trip to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, our day at the beach and Olivia, the pianist in action!


Tiffany Leininger said...

How beautiful! I have never been to California, but would love to see it. What a view! It sounds like you guys had a great time! Can't wait to see more pictures and hear more about the vacation.


Anonymous said...

We are so glad you all came to see us, we had such fun. Olivia was a doll and we all enjoyed playing with her so much, this is one SMART little girl. It was fun seeing her reaction at the beach.. she sure loved it. I can't wait for next year and more fun adventures with Olivia.
Love and kiss Aunt Sue Sue

Anonymous said...

I am still enjoying California, but I am very eager to see Olivia (and you) tomorrow. Over all, Miss O was a trouper. It was so nice to give her the opportunity to get better acquainted with her family.

Wormie said...

How wonderful!!! I just adore that cute photo of Livie on the beach!!!!

Aunt Chris said...

That is too darn funny...the camel was in love with the two booty shakin' chicks!! LOL Looks like you had a great time, and it won't be long before Olivia allows you to attend the wine tasting festivities. Glad she got to put her toes in the sand for me :)